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In Phase II operation, the Water and Environmental Technology (WET) I/UCRC intends to minimize any adverse effects of emerging contaminants (EC) on human health and/or the environment. The research challenges in this area include the need for more scientific information about levels, fate, transport, ecological and health impacts of ECs in the environment, the need for improved detection and monitoring capabilities, and for new cost-effective treatment technologies and optimization of existing operations at both water and wastewater treatment plants. Center engineers and environmental scientists utilizing microbial, chemical, and mathematic approaches will work collaboratively in coordination with center industry representatives to perform this research. WET's industrial, need-focused research program aims to enhance scientific understanding and help address potentially significant health and environmental problems.

The challenges addressed and potential benefits derived from the work of the Water and Environmental Technology (WET) I/UCRC impact several industries including: the Pharmaceutical and Personal Care Products Industries; the Oil and Natural Gas Industry; Pesticide and other Chemicals Industry; entities that treat wastewater and drinking water; and companies that create and service technologies for the removal of contaminants from water. Students and faculty will experience state of the art research projects of value to both industry and the community. Many member companies have overseas installations, and students will be exposed to regulatory, technological, social and cultural aspects of different countries, enhancing their global experiences. In addition, every effort will be made to engage and involve minority students, as well as students and teachers from local K-12 schools, in part through existing programs at the center's institutions. The Center will further enhance the ongoing efforts at the three institutions of integrating research into classroom teaching.

Phase I started the I/UCRC "Water and Environmental Technology (WET)" with a focus on water quality and emerging contaminants. The lead of the Center was Temple University (TU) with site locations at the University of Arizona (UA) and Arizona State University (ASU). The objective of the Center was to advance the knowledge and understand the effects of emerging contaminants on water quality. Emerging contaminants generally refer to pharmaceuticals, personal care products, as well as pathogens detected in the source water environment; thereby posing a potential or real threat to human health or the environment. The research aimed at developing technologies to detect, understand, mitigate and/or control emerging contaminants in the environment as well as other traditional contaminants that can adversely impact water quality. Center engineers and environmental scientists using microbial, chemical, hydrologic and mathematical approaches will work collaboratively to conduct this research.

The Center and its research activities involved faculty, undergraduate and graduate students and industrial representatives; and the industrial-focused research program enhanced the scientific understanding and helped address a potentially significant health and environmental problem. Many of the companies of the Center have overseas installations; thus, students were exposed to regulatory, social and cultural aspects of different countries, enhancing their global experiences. All three institutions engaged K-12 students and teachers, and enhanced the ongoing efforts of integrating research in classroom teaching. WET had a strong diversity plan that ensured the participation of underrepresented groups in all levels of the Center. The Center  published results in various publications as well as presentations at Conferences.



National Science Foundation, Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships


February 2009 — Ongoing